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Q & A: Do the sun and planets have a magnetic charge?

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Most recent answer: 01/26/2010
Q:
Do the sun and planets have a magnetic charge.
- David Perdomo (age 10)
Fl, Miami
A:
Probably not.  In order to have magnetic charge there must a source, called a magnetic monopole.  The physicist Paul Dirac hypothesized that the existence of them would greatly simplify some of the properties of electromagnetism and also explain why electric charge comes in discrete amounts of multiples of that of the electron.  Alas, many experiments that have searched for them have come up empty handed.  See: 
   for more details than you want.

On the other hand the sun and the planets can have magnetic fields.  These fields arise from internal circulating charge currents. 
See:
or,  

LeeH

(published on 01/26/2010)

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